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NZ trade surplus wider than expected in June

Wednesday 25th July 2012

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New Zealand's trade surplus was wider than expected in the month of June as the country's dairy producers sold more product overseas.

The surplus was $331 million last month, up from a revised $232 million in May, according to Statistics New Zealand. That's wider than the $134 million forecast in a Reuters survey. The annual deficit of $747 million, or 7.9 percent of exports, was smaller than the expected $870 million shortfall.

Exports rose 6.2 percent to $4.2 billion in June, with a 9.9 percent lift in foreign sales of milk powder, butter and cheese to $979 million, and a 25 percent gain in log, wood and wood article sales to $312 million.

New Zealand producers sold a seasonally adjusted 240,000 tonnes of milk powder, butter and cheese in June, up 24 percent from the same month a year earlier, while log and wood quantities were 49 percent higher than a year earlier at 1.72 million tonnes.

Dairy products, including casein and caseinates, made up 27 percent of New Zealand's annual $46.68 billion exports.

Statistics NZ said the trend for monthly exports of milk powder, butter and cheese has been declining since a record high in November 2011. Last month was excluded from its calculations because it was "unusually large".

The country's exporters increased the value of sales into China 58 percent to $602 million in June, taking annual exports to $6.12 billion. The increase in foreign sales to Asia offset a 21 percent slump in exports to the European Union, as that region contends with sovereign debt woes, eroding its ability to import goods.

The value of New Zealand's imports rose 3 percent to $3.87 billion with an increase in the value of vehicle parts and crude oil. Last month, the New Zealand dollar was 1.1 percent higher on a trade-weighted basis than in May, and 0.7 percent higher than June 2011.

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